Alef List: Hot Happenings 4 Hip Jews 11/3-11/16

Alef ListThis is a guest post by Matt Levitt.

Cheshvan.  It’s the current month in the Hebrew calendar.  After all of the holidays last month, who couldn’t use a break?  And thanks to Leora, who has already profiled two of the best upcoming events, I get a break from having to write a whole lot.

I’ve always been intrigued about Cheshvan (my birthday is in the month) and the lack of holidays. But the more I look into it, the more I find is going on this month.

For instance, the Ethiopian Jews observe a holiday on the 29th of Cheshvan called Sigd.  It falls 50 days after Yom Kippur and symbolizes the acceptance of the Torah, making it similar to Shavuot.  Last July, the Israeli government officially recognized Sigd, which this year falls on Monday, November 16th.   See a video of Sigd in Jerusalem in 2007 here.

Here are my picks for hot happenings 4 hip Jews in the Twin Cities from November 3rd to November 16th:

11/6-7/2009Joshua Nelson brings his Kosher Gospel to Adath Jeshurun Congregation
(10500 Hillside Lane W., Minnetonka).  See Joshua at Friday night services on the 6th or watch him bring the house down with a concert on Saturday night on the 7th.  See the TC Jewfolk posts about Joshua HERE and HERE.  I was fortunate enough to see Joshua Nelson live and attend a seminar he gave at a URJ music retreat a couple of years ago.  His music is as infectious as his personality.  He creates a totally unique twist on Jewish and Gospel music and it is truly not to be missed.

11/12/2009. The opening reception for an exhibit of Handcrafted Menorahs and Prints by local artist Kurt Nordwall. 6:00-8:00pm at Sabes JCC (4330 Cedar Lake Rd. S., St. Louis Park). Exhibit runs November 12 – December 24, 2009.  It’s a night with a lot of fun events happening in the Jewish community but my kishkes tell me this is the one to attend.  Taking a new, and somewhat literal, twist on the celebration of the “Festival of Lights”, the Tychman Shapiro Gallery at the Sabes JCC, presents the Light of Hanukkah exhibit, featuring hand-crafted metal Chanukiot (Chanukah menorahs or lamps) and a series of new prints by Minnesota-based artist Kurt Nordwall. When creating a new Chanukiot, he uses his imagination and interest in Jewish history and culture to create a story. “I create my art from intuition. I imagine a Jewish family, maybe in Poland in 1910, gathered around the family table with the lamp. I imagine it being passed l’dor v’dor (from generation to generation).” Each lamp, made from brass and brazed with silver, is one of a kind, and while some may have similarities, each one is unique. The Chanukiot are an expression of Nordwall’s deep interest in Jewish traditions, history and culture.  Keep your eyes out for a more in-depth post about the exhibit on TC Jewfolk.

Additionally… Concurrent with Light of Hanukkah, the exhibit Israel: Reflections and Refractions, on display in the Sabes JCC’s Hallway and Lobby exhibition areas, features photographs taken by Minnesota college students while in Israel on a Taglit-Birthright Hillel Campus Explorer trip in January 2009.

11/20092009 Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair.  Various dates in November (see the schedule HERE) at various locations, hosted by the St. Paul JCC (1375 St. Paul Ave., St. Paul). The 2009 Twin Cities Jewish Book Fair brings a number of notable Jewish authors to town over the month of November (and a few spread out over the rest of the winter).  See TC Jewfolk’s post about the fair for more info and discussion.  I’ve been to several TCJBF events in the past and have never been disappointed.  Pick a date, grab a friend and go!

Notable Mention:

Nechama Open House. Rescheduled for 11/15 3-5pm.  It was spotlighted in the last Alef List and on TC Jewfolk.

Yossi Klein Halevi speaks at Bet Shalom Congregation at 7:00pm on 11/12.

UJFC Young Leadership Happy Hour at Half Time Rec at 5:30pm on 11/12.